I'm not an avid blogger... Most issues have two strong sides to them, and I'm usually more interested in the dynamics of these sides than in who is right and wrong. Probably not the most exciting way to blog for the masses. But I heard something on the radio this morning that set me off. I have long felt that the issue of gay marriage is the SINGLE political issue out there to which the opposition has no valid, rational, or convincing argument whatsoever. Not one. I will conceded strong opposing arguments in almost every topic that I care about: foreign wars, abortion-rights, evolution, the electoral college, whether Mr. T could win in a fight against Underdog; but gay marriage? Nothing. Not one single reasoned or informed argument. Not even close. The whole thing is a sham.
Before I get into that, just what did I hear on the radio? What set me off? It wasn't that Prop 8 passed in California. Nope. In fact, I've always been a strong supporter of popular elections overturning supreme court decisions. I think it makes for respectable democracy. Yes, I think Prop 8 is stupid, and we need to fight against it starting right now, but you know, at least we can say that in some sense, the people have spoken. We should respect that; and prepare for the counter attack.
But apparently SOME people… Ooooh, my cackles are prickling. Christ, I can feel the hairs on my neck stand up just thinking about it! SOME people are arguing that not only should California stop marrying same-sex couples; they should ANNUL the previous same-sex marriages made over the last several months.
I'm not often rash to make moral judgments, but anyone who supports annulling an existing marriage is a cold-hearted, loveless, shriveled up old son-of-a-bitch, and needs to be punched in the face repeatedly until they cry.
Have you never been in love, you heartless slugs? Do you have no idea of the challenges and emotional nightmares that are involved in getting to a place where two people decide to commit their lives to each other? And you want to tear that away once it's done?
It turns out that a large chunk of the funding to support Prop 8 came from the Mormon church. From out of state! They are taking mind-your-own-business to a new level. If I thought there was any money to waste on giving these people a taste of their own medicine I'd say we throw a major campaign together to ban door-to-door proselytizing. Or at least force these missions to be between a man and a woman. It really makes me uncomfortable when two well-groomed, well-dressed men come to my house side-by-side to preach the revelation of Joseph smith. Mormons! Like they have any latitude in speaking up about "traditional" marriage.
Okay. Deep breath. Let's take a quick look at the so-called "arguments" against same-sex marriage, and see just how vapid they are. I'm collating the major arguments into three basic groups: Social, Natural, and Religious. There's no way I can cover all the details of every argument, and many people have done so far better than I could. Instead, I'm going to take a very broad approach in my comments, but if anyone wants to tussle with the details, bring it on.
Social. The most often spouted nonsense from opponents of same-sex marriage is that it shatters some traditional concept of marriage that binds society together. One of the wisest tenants of Confucianism traces a link from the successful governing of the state down to a grounded individual comportment of the mind in traditional virtues. If the mind is good (educated, liberated, reasoned), everything builds on that up through family to community to the state. Solid families are the bedrock of a nation. This is not a bad basis to begin with. A state cannot rule from the top-down. It's just logistically impossible. So, conservatives, you have my support in wanting to prop up solid families. But let's take a look at society. Skyrocketing divorce rates, child abuse, incest, poverty, and homelessness abound, and you think same-sex marriage is our biggest threat to family? How about putting our energy into dealing with child abuse? How about spending our money on reforming our absurd education system. Yeah, families are being ripped apart, but not by homosexuals. One clever blogger put it this way: "Threaten marriage? By allowing people to marry?"
Natural. So they say homosexuality "just ain't natural". As with most of these topics, the internet abounds with finely-crafted responses to this. I won't repeat. Instead, I want use this moment to make a point. To all you straight folk out there like me, think about it. Think about the revulsion you feel to the idea of banging someone of the same sex. Now you run around and spout off that homosexuality is not natural, that it's a choice, not an impulse akin to our own heterosexual drives. Um. That means that ALL of these people have the exact same gut revulsion to this as you and I do. And yet, they still choose to be gay. Right. We're one step shy from alien-mind-control conspiracy to gay-ify the planet here. Nuff said.
Religious. We'll stick to Christianity here, because we're all good Americans. Let's start with the Old Testament, and this takes us back to our "tradition" argument. Traditional marriage in the OT consists of a host of crazy laws for marriage. Adulterers were to be killed. No inter-racial marriages allowed. Men could sell their daughters. If a man raped a woman she was bound to marry him. Widows were forced to marry their brothers-in-law. This sound like the "traditional" marriage conventions we should abide by? As for homosexuality, it was an abomination, and anyone caught practicing the act was to be killed. You people going to stand by that? Don't give me your religious arguments unless you're willing to go all the way. Nothing chaffs me more than a Christian claiming Biblical inerrancy and the UNCHANGABILITY of morals who won't stand by the laws that they profess to believe GOD instituted. (And by the way, Jesus himself opposed Lavitical law by stopping the men from stoning the adulterous woman. He was a revolutionary who understood the evolution of moral progress, and that the true spirituality transcends legal, cultural, and semantic boundaries.)
So what about Jesus? What does he say about marriage? Well he's pretty clear. Don't do it.
Whoa. What? Yeah, you heard me. Jesus said it was better for a man not to be married. Better… wait, what about marriage being the bedrock of society, the sacred institution of a religious community? Let's break out the quote in case you don't believe me. From Matthew 19:
"And I tell you this, a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery--unless his wife has been unfaithful." Jesus' disciples then said to him, "Then it is better not to marry!" "Not everyone can accept this statement," Jesus said. "Only those whom God helps. Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made that way by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone who can, accept this statement."
Obviously Jesus is not forbidding marriage, but he says only to do it if you just can't help it. The apostle Paul repeats this sentiment in 1 Corinthians: "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that." Jesus also declares that there will be no marriage in heaven. "The men and women of this age marry, but the men and women who are worthy to rise from death and live in the age to come will neither marry or be given in marriage…" Does this sound like he's talking about a sacred institution? Is this some great eternal moral system of God? Seems to me Jesus and Paul both view marriage as a stumbling-block to spiritual life.
I've barely scratched the surface, but the fact is every argument is devastatingly weak. And if every argument is weak, then the question remains: why do all these people oppose same-sex marriage?
Here's the bottom line. The opposition simply despises homosexuality. They won't admit it. They cover up their feelings with absurd arguments. I'm pretty sick of these people retaining the moral high ground by saying, "We aren't against homosexuals. We think they are equals," while driving this hard campaign against their right to publically express the reality of their love on a level footing with the heterosexuals. They say, "Okay, we'll call it civil unions, but the word marriage is ours." Well I'm not buying that. You don't even get that word. Not until you can present me a clear argument demonstrating the stable, traditional, and meaningful definition of that word throughout civilization in a way that lines up with your beliefs on the matter. Your logic is flawed and your words are weak, and you are masking a psychological state with legal, moral, and religious milquetoast. The veil needs to be torn away. Let's call this what it really is: Hate. I'm not saying everyone opposed to same-sex marriage hates gay people, but I am saying they hate homosexuality. Period. There's no other explanation. If you think there is, I'd love to hear it.
The Free Dictionary defines hate as: "1. To feel hostility or animosity toward. To detest. 2. To feel dislike or distaste for."
So let's just admit it please. You hate the idea of homosexuality and you want to repress it in the best way you can without looking like a monstrous bigot. I have never seen this more prevalent than this morning, when I heard people are attempting to force courts to annul actual marriages. Get in touch with your true motivations, people. Own up. Admit that there is no "reason", only revulsion. Then maybe we can start moving forward.
For some wonderful articles hammering away at more specific "arguments", check out the following links: